What can I tell you? I like people. In fact, my wife has told me, you have an open and sensitive heart for people. I believe that people are basically good and even the complaining ones, can be brought out of their negative shells, with lots of encouragement.
However, here’s the problem. My mistake is thinking that people care for me as much as I do for them. I care. I always care. I used to get hurt and saddened when those I care about, new or old acquaintances, would let me down. Over the past few months, I’ve thought about this a great deal, this contradiction between loving with an open heart and sometimes getting hurt when people let me down. I’ve arrived at a few conclusions that may be of help to all of us who care for people only to be hurt by them.
- You are not responsible for someone else’s happiness. We all have a different set of life experiences. Though we all have challenges, some folks have had problems getting over theirs. I pray their experiences were mostly good, but I know that sometimes it has turned them bitter. The point is, I’m not responsible for their past. I’m sorry for their pain; but I had nothing to do with it. I am responsible for my happiness.
- When someone truly cares about you, they make an effort, not an excuse. People who care for you will never leave you in your worst of times. They are the ones who would stand right beside you, no matter what! It is essential to understand the people who care for us in the real sense will never make an excuse, irrespective of the degree of difficulty of the situation.
- People who care apologize; people who don’t never do. They’ll rationalize before they ever apologize, so there’s no point debating. They’ll twist the story to fit their narrative, change the way it happened, and retell it so convincingly that they’ll believe their own nonsense. People don’t have to apologize to be wrong. And you don’t need an apology to move forward. Just move forward – without them. Don’t surrender your truth. There’s just no point. Some people want to be right more than they want to be happy.
- When you care for someone more than they deserve, you get hurt more than you deserve. Mean-spirited, negative people can hurt us if we let them. The trick is not to let them. It is okay to walk away from those who cannot reciprocate your caring and an open heart. If you can help them, do so, but understand there will be those who cannot be loved. When you have a good heart, you will help too much. You will give too much. And it always seems you hurt the most.
- Your flaws are perfect for the heart that is meant to love you. I am a good person, but I have flaws. Equally, I must accept that even the best of people has flaws. If I am seeking perfection in everyone, I would be a lonely man. For whatever reason, I must accept that everyone is imperfect. Sometimes people say or do the wrong thing. I do as well. We are allowed slip-ups and mistakes. My heart may be open, but it also needs to be flexible.
- An open heart is an open mind. Open-heartedness is associated with being warm and kind, and emotional quality. Open-mindedness is a mental quality associated with being impartial and receptive to new ideas. Opening your heart and mind helps you take charge of your life, deal with uncertainties, and be resilient. It uplifts you, inspiring you to be more of who you are, who you are becoming.
- This too, shall pass. Sometimes, despite all of the advice I have doled out, I will make the mistake of thinking that someone will care for me as much as I do for them – and then I get disappointed. I can’t pretend it doesn’t hurt when I am disappointed by someone, but I do know that tomorrow is another day. I won’t carry the pain forever; I won’t dwell on it. I believe in the power of a good heart and I know that after the worst of storms, there will be beautiful days.
You lose yourself trying to hold on to someone who doesn’t care about losing you. The biggest misstep of all is a good person who closes their heart after hurt or disappointment. I unequivocally understand. I have been there! But please don’t let it define you. Don’t change so people will like you. Be yourself and the right people will love you!
For more information about Hall of Fame speaker and bestselling author Steve Gilliland and the Gilliland Foundation, please contact email@example.com / 724-540-5019 / www.stevegilliland.com.